The SLC RESI Round Up
Dames, Duck Herding and Developers.
Ten years is a long time in business, and during that last ten years we have seen some momentous times in the property business. Not least of which was a catastrophic global recession in 2008. Nevertheless, Property Week has now been running the RESI Event at Celtic Manor for ten years. No mean achievement!
SLC was represented at RESI by our Head of Commercial Operations Jo Green, ably supported by Natalie Deeley-Brewerton.
This year has been an interesting one, and much has happened in the property industry. Although the numbers were a little down on last year, the array of speakers and the topics were extremely interesting. Brexit was still on everyone’s mind and from the very off, Dame Frances Cairncroft’s economic outlook centred on what is to become UK PLC post referendum.
RESI’s first day was dominated by PRS or, more specifically ‘Build to Rent’. SLC have been involved in this sector now for over a year and is consulting widely with management groups, operators and Institutions on their ‘down stream’ activities. Not to mention advising on AST agreements tailored to reflect the brand and aspirations of each client.
Build to Rent (B2R) is now hot news. Introduced by Savills’ Lucian Cook as a keen netballer, Gavin Barwell MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning, delivered his first public address to the industry and with it, a bit of a bomb-shell…. The Government is now not focussed entirely on home ownership. All tenure types are on their radar, especially B2R. He said “we need to build more homes of every single type and not focus on one single tenure” and Barwell acknowledged the country’s housing ambitions would “never be achieved” without a significant boost for institutional investment in the private rented sector, adding, “recent growth in the bespoke rental market has been impressive but this progress must be expanded.”
James Murray supported the Governments new found enthusiasm for B2R. Murray said, “volume house builders need to work alongside new forms of delivery, like build to rent”, adding, “if we’re going to increase supply and have affordable within that, you need to use every route of delivery.”
So, at SLC, we think there is a high probability that the Government will introduce incentives for the B2R sector in the Autumn Statement. These will probably take the form of exemption from the 3% SDLT surcharge and possibly some tinkering with the planning process to help with viability. It’s unlikely that there will be a new planning class, but, never say never…
Of interest to the building geeks is the rapid growth of modular construction, which could transform the speed at which homes are delivered. Not to mention the improved quality of fit and finish. Even Tony Pidgley, Chairman of Berkeley Homes conceded that perhaps 20% of his output could come from modular construction. Tom Bloxham of Urban Splash opined that perhaps 70-80% of his future developments could be modular! Watch this space. Modular is here to stay, how it evolves is up to the industry. But it’s a very exciting development. Very soon, your new home could be delivered by Amazon on a trailer…. Or a very large drone…
Day two is always tempered by events of the preceding evening, and day two this year was no exception. With many of the delegates enjoying Bruce Ritchies’ excellent RESI-FEST the night (and early morning) before, it needed a headline speaker to drag them from their beds and Lord Lawson provided that headline. Typically outspoken, this arch Brexiteer tore into the Government’s record on Stamp Duty calling it a ‘Tax on mobility” attacking current levels as “absolutely crazy”. His discussion with ex MP Steve Norris was most entertaining…
Wrapping up the conference was the founder of Yo! Sushi, Simon Woodroffe OBE whose keynote address was ‘using brand innovation to win new markets. He made no mention of either Brexit or SDLT (thankfully) but his account of how he created Yo! Sushi had everyone enthralled…. and hungry!
From SLC’s perspective this was another occasion where we further cemented our position as leading firm in the PRS/B2R industry. The team has made enormous strides in recent months and this is clearly demonstrated by how many of the delegates recognised and engaged with our Head of Commercial Operations.
At the end of day two, a fatigued Jo Green said, “It’s been an amazingly successful two days for us. My team have been absolutely brilliant, they’ve worked so hard. I’m so proud of what we have achieved here. Following up all of what we have done is going to be our next big task”
Oh yes, the Duck Herding…. Organised by David Phillips, a networking/team building event that’s every bit as difficult as it sounds, but not quite as hard as prising the property industry away from the RESI FEST free beer bar….. at 3am in the morning..